ALCOHOL-FREE AUGUST

Maggie and I decided to go alcohol-free on quite possibly the worst month of the year (besides December, I suppose). We made the choice after finding ourselves defaulting to a glass (or 3) of wine at night.

We wanted to know more about the psychology of alcohol.

Why were we drinking in the first place? What was it doing for us and even more importantly, what was it not doing for us?

Here's what it wasn't doing for us: 

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WELCOME HOME

This morning Maggie said, "I miss you writing about things you're curious about. I miss hearing you sing along and dance around with your headphone on. I miss hearing you sniffle in the other room as you write about something you care so deeply about." 

She's right. I miss it, too. I miss the exploration and discovery within our own lives. I told Maggie earlier this year that I write about us because it makes me a better person and a better partner...

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Christmas, presence, and why I learned to like wine

Mag-Lacy_Christmas2014-768x1024.jpeg

It’s December and the Holidays are always a busy time for us.  Maggie is often shooting, editing and delivering the last of the wedding, event, product and portrait photos to clients before the turn of the new year. I met her around this time 2 years ago when she first invited me to her apartment to hang out while she wrapped Christmas presents.

I brought wine (the smiley face brand from Trader Joe’s) and promptly cut my finger on the cork wrapper. Maggie walked up as I ran my finger under water and I was forced to admit what had happened. She went for a bandaid, we wrapped it all up and I poured my hard fought wine into two glasses – one for each of us. 

I had somehow learned that she liked red wine and she admitted that she really couldn’t tell the difference between a “good” red and a $5 bottle of red from the store down the street. I liked that about her, because frankly, neither could I… In fact, I’d only started drinking wine a few years earlier when the guy I’d been long distance dating at the time told me “at some point you’re going to have to learn to like wine — that’s what successful people drink during business meals.” I could see his point, so I ventured into the world of this vinegar tasting beverage and learned to like it about halfway through the glass — right about the same time I started to get tipsy.

I delivered our wine glasses to Maggie’s living room floor — hardwoods with a grey oval design area rug. I sat on the rug with the presents. Maggie preferred the hardwoods with the wine and her Christmas wrapping supplies surrounding her. One of my favorite things about myself is that I am easily entertained so watching someone else wrap Christmas presents for her family wasn’t at all boring. Maggie’s December schedule had been wildly busy that year — 2012.  In fact, I got to learn a lot about Maggie through these presents she bought on a power shopping spree earlier that day. I learned about her friends, cousins, her nieces, nephews, even her brother, her Dad and Mom and stepmom. The gifts she bought for them told a story about her family and about her relationship with them.

I learned even more about Maggie that night. Her computer sat on the desk in the corner of the room and I got to watch her screensaver scroll through a parade of what looked to be at least the last 5 years of Maggie’s life. It looked to be a highlight reel of her favorite moments. Many photos of her favorite people. I learned by the toys she picked out for her nieces and nephews that she loves to play, she appreciates comfort and she always strives for a gift that’s the right one for the recipient. I learned that she can shop faster for an entire family of presents than I can for just one present… and this year, I did my best to implement more of her decisive shopping habits. I admire that about her. I learned that she doesn’t love gifts — her love language is quality time, after all, so she strives for gifts people can use and experiences they might not otherwise give themselves. I learned about the way she thinks and categorizes things. I learned that she’s super visual and the wrapping had to match the ribbons and bows but that that wrapping itself didn’t have to be perfect, but it needed to look nice. She had a list of names and gifts that she marked off one by one until she was finished. I learned that while she had procrastinated on shopping for the gifts themselves, once she started the process she was determined to finish all the way up to getting them all piled neatly into their shipping boxes, labels and all.

We went to our respective families homes for Christmas that year and texted every chance we could, providing updates about what was happening, if we had brought having met each other and our new friendship up in conversation yet, and what our families were like. We texted, then called each other later for a recap, then met up for coffee and walks around the neighborhood. I even got a text from her on New Years, which to this day I remember being excited about, thinking “yes, she’s thinking about me, too!”

Now we’re on our second “official” Christmas together (3rd Christmas since we met). Our social cups are filled to the top around Christmas and for that I am forever grateful — we have Christmas parties, birthday parties, New Years parties, multiple families to celebrate with, and incredible friends that we’re so fortunate to have. We also have end of the year business to attend to, our minds are focused on what is next for 2015 and sometimes we find ourselves at the end of the day without having had much time to connect – just us, you know?

I can’t help but think about how fortunate we are that the one thing I got upset about last week was — not enough time with Maggie. You know, time without the phone, the places to be, the work, the computer, TV, etc. Just us. After I got done crying about my own existential meanderings and passions that I want to achieve in life, I smiled. I smiled because as entrepreneurs with our own successful businesses, Maggie and I are so fortunate to get to work in the same space together most of the time. To take breaks, go on walks, do yoga and go to the gym, and make lunch and dinner together… To adventure together on our business trips and to feel we just always want more of each other. I think that’s an incredible “problem” to have. I know many people who wish they had more time with their person and likewise many who sadly wish they had less, who have much more to be upset about than time together. At the same time, in this coming year, I look forward to designating quality time, not just time in the same space doing different things.

I find that as I ponder my own “what’s next?” I want more focus and connection, which is something that we haven’t had as much of this month. I started to get mad, to feel frustrated, angry and to turn it on myself and over think everything possible to over think. And then I stopped myself. I decided that instead of engaging in unproductive distructive behavior that would surely help no one, I would help the one person who needed my heart and understanding the most… Maggie needed my help. So, when I had time, I went Christmas shopping for us… I wrapped presents, picked up our Christmas tree and made dinners, washed dishes and kept things going so that Maggie could continue her very long workdays, knowing that she was doing this for us, for our future and so that we could enjoy Christmas together with our families totally unplugged and relaxed. Without conversation, Maggie returned the gestures as she always does. I love that we’re connected like that. She decorated the tree with me, wrapped presents with me, appreciated my efforts to help, stays up late to spend time with me even though she’s exhausted, makes me oatmeal for breakfast every morning no matter how busy she is, she took a few evenings off last week so we could reconnect, and she takes dance breaks with me so we can jam out to the Mariah Carey Holiday station on Pandora.

I share this because it seems small… but I think sometimes that’s where we get hung up. We think it’s the big things, that feed or drain relationships. However, I think it’s the “small things” that actually become the big thing in a relationship because it all comes down to being heard, seen and validated in all moments, no the just the convenient ones. Life is busy — sometimes our lives are more busy that the other person. We all have moments that go the way we want or don’t, we all bid for the attention of our loved ones in hopes of them noticing and affirming. Our relationships are created and nurtured by how we choose to treat and prioritize it all — and the way in which we choose to communicate it.

In the midst of it all, I focus everyday to remember these things and hope they will guide me:

1. We’re a team

2. How can I best speak to her love language?

3. How can I help and bring joy to this situation?

4. How do I choose to show up in this moment?

5. What can I learn from this?


Happy Christmas!
We’ve worked hard to enjoy some Christmas time off. I’m looking forward to some connected time with Maggie and our families.

Enjoy the way you do Christmas. Teach others your traditions (or non-traditions)
Look for things to learn about your person, your family or your friends. People are so interesting!
Share yourself with others and leave some time for reflection before the new year hits.
Choose how you will show up, what you want from your Holiday… in other words, choose your own adventure and make it memorable. This is it, this is life! You deserve the good stuff.


Love to you,
Lacy

A look at 31 and holy !@#$ I’m 32!

Lacy, Circa 1982

Lacy, Circa 1982

Lacy, Circa 2014

Lacy, Circa 2014

Tonight I’m 31. Tomorrow I’ll be 32…

At exactly 9:06pm, as my Mom likes to call to remind me every single year.
I don’t know much about being 32… at 32 my mom had me. Woah. At my 32, I can’t yet imagine having a child.

I didn’t know that at 32 I would have the same hair as when I was a 1… and I happen to think that’s awesome.

I actually never thought I’d live to be 32. For many reasons, but up until I was 14, I was pretty sure I didn’t understand how ANYONE besides my parents got older. 16 years old seemed epic and responsible, 18 less so, and 21 filled with excited expectation. 25 was my quarter life crisis, 28 was the terrifying year that I came out, and 30 was… awkward. 31 was awesome and 32 continues its pursuit. Life just keeps getting better.

I’m not at all what I thought I would be, I’m not doing what I thought I would do… but I am who I thought I would be.

Life is busy and it’s important to give a birthday its honor… honor with a look at where I’ve been and a moment to set goals for the future.

I look at my life and my year and while everything in me screams wildly with greater vision and expectations, I’ve accomplished a lot. The most of which is greater love and happiness and presence. Some years bring great career and outward victories while other years bring brilliant inner victories… I wondered at first what I would write about my year as I sat down to write this… I feel like some parts of myself I haven’t listened or even talked to in quite some time. I miss the creativity and the fun side projects. I miss pondering life, it’s meaning and purpose and what it means and I’d like greater connection to my friends and family.

Yet with that longing, I’ve grown and expanded in ways and areas I hadn’t before. Before falling in love with Maggie, which I thought about calling “BM” … before Maggie… but then realized that sounds gross, so we’ll stick with what we’ve got, I had never been in a long term relationship. I was a serial dater and most often just found it more enjoyable to be alone. I wasn’t necessarily surrounded by relationships that I wanted for myself and I promised myself that if it wasn’t what I envisioned for myself, I wasn’t going to do it. I also operated in extremes: love or career, success or failure, good or bad, bliss or heartbreak. So, while I read up on countless books about love and relationships, compatibility and merging the worlds of two people since the age of 15, I had never actually done it myself before. 

Maggie moved in with me a year ago this month and it has been the happiest year of my life. I’ve learned things about myself that I never knew. I learned how to let love in, how to depend on others, how to communicate and articulate my feelings, I learned how to put us first. I even learned that it’s not love OR career, it’s love AND career. Would you believe that many of my clients are Maggie’s too? And that I get to go with her to some of her weddings and shoot with her? Life has itself a beautiful way of unfolding.

This year I’ve learned more about value – my value. I’ve seen myself in new and different ways and as the days, months and years move along, I feel more comfortable in my own skin.

This year I learned how to manage my finances, how to save, how to give myself the permission to have a vision for my future… of marriage, of kids, of a house, of world travel and a higher understanding of my friends, family and even clients. Since the age of 16 and 3 major surgeries that followed, I thought I was going to die, so I just never really let myself have any of that. While I understand that someday I will die, this is one more way I am allowing myself to live and it feels good. This year I learned to eat better and feel better, too!

This year of 32, I look forward to creating:

– A deeper love and connection daily with Maggie and commitment to discovering more of each other and our dreams and passions than before.
– Stronger and even more fulfilling connections with friends… vacations together, breakfasts, hikes, adventures and games.
– Quality time with family by reaching out more and organizing gathers and dropping the “but my family doesn’t/hasn’t ever done that” and just doing it.
– Balls… the balls to do the shit that scares me, but is my life’s work!
– Owning my value to my clients, charging my worth, and serving them in the best and highest way while honoring my dreams for my own life and career…
– More Coaching implemented with my existing work. I am a Certified High Performance Coach, I want to help my clients in that way as well.
– A course/program of my own. I’ve spent years helping others do it. It’s my turn and I’m excited about it!
– Travel to Europe and write my book in the spring and other travel adventures along the way.
– Greater financial freedom.
– Routine, but not the boring old person kind. 
– Grander vision for my career, my company, my life and my clients… Go bigger and better and deeper and more rewarding
– Challenge to the status quo and to the way I and others have done things… I will question, I will learn, I will grow.
– More time for myself, my thoughts, my writing, my vision and my dreams to take action on.
– Continued self-actualization and study. Attending events, seminars, workshops, listening to podcasts and daring to address and engage in the real and important things in life.
– Everyday choosing one thing to focus on and be good at: presence, listening, affirming, learning, making connections, finding opportunity… things like that. I used to do that a lot and want it again.
– Greater clarity when I enter meetings, family functions, friend hangouts as to what I want out of the experience and how I want to feel… Sometimes I default to whatever is happening and I want to be aware and awake.
– More spontaneity, adventure, child-like fun, simple things, soulful connection, beach trips, basketball, yoga, workouts, water sports.
– More writing on this site and elsewhere… writing is how I understand and process the world… how I express and how I learn.

So to 31, thank you and I cheers you to the love and connection and fulfillment you’ve been.

32, let’s do this!!!!

How Do You Love: Our Morning Story

Photo credit and gratitude to Ashley Forrette Courter: www.Ashleyforrette.com

Photo credit and gratitude to Ashley Forrette Courter: www.Ashleyforrette.com

For those of you who have read and know the 5 Love Languages, I’m an Acts of Service kind of girl. Meaning, I feel most loved when people do something nice for me without me asking. Icing on the cake is when someone does something because they think it’ll help my day, week, month or life be better. I’m independent and I like to do my own thing and admittedly have a way I think most things should be done.

There are some things I’m good at (love, marketing, basketball, relationships, communication) and others that I’m not (cooking, getting up early, spreadsheets, going to the gym).

I like some meals and others, not so much.

Breakfast was once my least favorite meal of the day. I ate protein bars, cereal, protein shakes, and as all past college roommates of mine can attest (and now Maggie, too), OATMEAL nearly 365 days per year. Rich breakfast foods aren’t my thing and fried food makes me feel disgusting, so really… the options are limited.

On occasion, in the last 7 years, I’ve changed it up with some greek yogurt, berries, walnuts and honey.

I’m not sure what Maggie used to eat in the morning before I came along. However, she did manage to get me away from heating up my single serving multi flavored 1 minute microwavable Quaker oat packs and on over to steel cut oats, which as I understand are “better for us.” I agree. I feel better when I eat them.

One of the first times I stayed at Maggie’s house early in our relationship, she bought steel cut oats for us. She would get up first (she always has…) and she would sneak off to the kitchen and make us oats.

Anything is better when someone else has done it… mostly. Coffee is better when someone else buys or makes it, meals are better when someone else cooks it, jewelry means more when someone else picks it and buys it… Maggie’s oatmeal with steel cut oats, blueberries, walnuts and bananas were no different. They were absolutely delicious. Most certainly a step up from my brown packet of 1-minute  oats.

Now a year and a half into our relationship, she introduced me recently to rosemary potatoes with eggs over easy and my favorite bulletproof coffee. Decaf, of course. OMG, so yummy!

Nearly everyday for the last year and a half, Maggie gets up early and gets to business on her projects and work. When she hears me rustle around in bed she starts breakfast. Sometimes I’ll send her a morning text … a sunshine and a kiss icon to say “good morning sunshine” and let her know I’m awake. Other times our dog, Sophie, lets her know I’m awake by standing guard at the bedroom door. Both Sophie and Maggie burst into the room, Maggie with a huge smile and her body full of cuddles and love and Sophie with a toy and sloppy dog kisses and uncoordinated jumping on the bed. In return, I greet them with the biggest “I love you and I’m so happy to see you and wake up to you today” smile.

Those two, they are the sweetest thing, ever.

I often get up and we chat over coffee while Maggie cooks breakfast and the morning sunshine greets us through our kitchen window. We talk about our days, our dreams, and our ideas about things. Other times, I stay in bed (or fall back asleep, who I am kidding?) and 30 minutes later the bedroom door opens gently and she greets me with a smile and breakfast in bed.

Our good friend, Ashley, took this photo of us for a photography project she did capturing couple’s morning stories. This is our life together. Every morning, no matter what we eat for breakfast we stop, look at each other and before taking a bite, we cheers each other by gently touching our bowls together, kiss and then enjoy our breakfast. It’s our way of seeing each other, taking literally a moment for each other and honoring the time in the morning that we get to spend together and showing gratitude for the day ahead.

It feels like a dream. I know.

It’s the stuff that people roll their eyes at (you probably already did), break up over feeling seen and heard, wonder if it’s real, why people do it and how they can have it too.

Honestly, I wondered when our morning breakfast together would stop. When our morning story wouldn’t include my favorite part of my entire day. When would she get tired of “wooing” me? When would my pure delight and joy each time she makes breakfast for us fade into the background of a busy morning? When would her days get so packed that she forgets? Would she always remember that breakfast is my favorite part of the day with her? That it absolutely makes my day?

Breakfast together hasn’t stopped. While life may get busy, it’s up to us to make the time for the important things. It’s up to us to see each other, hear each other and to take the time for the things that matter.

That’s what love is. It’s knowing what means the most to each other. Even when we don’t’ know it ourselves. I didn’t know I’d grow to love breakfast with Maggie until she came along. I didn’t know it would absolutely make my day and I didn’t know I needed that time together in the morning for us together to feel loved and connected and honored. That’s the beauty of love though, we learn things about each other that we never would have otherwise. We become better … together.

If at any point while reading this, you caught yourself rolling your eyes, feeling bad about yourself, wishing it for your life, judging me for mine, or disliking me for sharing… Stop and take a moment to make important moments and memories a part of your relationship. What could you do to honor the person who has chosen to spend their life on and with you? How will you love? If you aren’t in a relationship, add it to your list of things you want in your relationship. You damn well deserve it.

Most of all, take time to care about each other in relationship, in friendship, in work. I write this also as a reminder to myself.

While this website started as stories about me as a gay woman living in the world, most of all, it’s about LOVE.


Giving love, sharing love, being love, making love, feeling love, CHOOSING LOVE…

Could I Really Love Anyone?

18 years ago and I sat down to our usual family TV time to watch some 20/20 Barbara Walters Special (yes, I am an only child). The segment that night was on adoption and by the end of that hour, my ideas, my life and my mind were changed. I was convinced that I would adopt. I was in my early teens at the time and I remember feeling the way that the parents on the segment described loving another human life…  a desire to love everyone, an understanding that we all don’t have the upbringing I was fortunate to have with present parents, a kind family, fun trips, safety, love, laughter and a good childhood and a hope to make the world a better place any way I could.

A couple of years later I met one little girl and her family in Bend, Oregon, who would put my theory to the test. I was hired the summer before my Sophomore year in high school by this sweet family who suddenly needed babysitting for their 4 year old girl. Her Mom was put on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy and this little bundle of energy and ideas had a whole summer of play she wanted to get in! I should say that my Freshman year was the year I met them… I was an entrepreneur from the start with pet-sitting, house-sitting, yard maintenance and babysitting businesses that I ran throughout the year, but mostly in the summer. I’m pretty sure I was born making my own way in the world. I never wanted to work for someone else and I didn’t mind the hard work — as long as I was proud of it, I liked the people I worked with and was able to be creative and make a difference in a way that only I could. As a result, during my 16 years in that neighborhood, I got to know just about everyone one way or another. I loved it.

So this cute kiddo I met and got to spend the Summer with was no exception. She was loving, cuddly, creative, inventive, mischievous, funny and incredibly intelligent. I spent half of the summer with this little girl playing in the pool, building slip and slides, riding bikes, playing horses, reading books, building things, inventing magical pretend worlds, making forts, cooking ghetto meals (cause that’s all I knew how to make — thank god for grilled cheese), convincing her to take naps, and watching movies as a treat. On July 30th that year, her baby sister joined their sweet family. Eventually I grew brave enough to hold this tiny bundle of love (how was she so small and wonderful!?) I spent the next 8 years working off and on for this family. It took far less than that for them to call me their big sister and “older daughter,” I always wanted to know what it would be like to have siblings. I couldn’t have planned it better than the way that it happened for us.

This little 4 year old girl is now 20, an upcoming Junior in college, an incredible human being, a wonderfully talented artist and writer and someone I’m so proud to have spent 16 years of my life with. Her sister is going to be 15 and she is equally amazing. The most caring love bug who, though she now towers over me (which is a total trip!), always wants to hold my hand, play, laugh, and this girl, she cares so deeply about the world. She too is an amazing artist in her own craft.

Still to this day, though they moved to the East Coast, I visit them at least once a year for a week. They were the first ones I saw at my college graduation and the two girls walked with me in the graduation procession, even presenting me with my own scrolled diploma of which I think meant more to me that day than the diploma from the University (I cried instantly, of course). They visited me during my stays in the hospital for surgeries, I surprised them and dressed like Harry Potter for halloween one year when they were obsessed with it, we swam in the lakes, rode bikes, I attended their graduations, we spend holidays together and we still vacation together.

I would do ANYTHING for these girls and their family. And you know what? I didn’t know that about myself before I met them. I told their parents that if anything ever happened, I’d be there and I promised to take care of them and make sure they were okay in the world. That’s the stuff we never want to talk about, but that we should and I’m so glad we did.

They will probably never know it, but this sweet family gave me the biggest gift… I was born with a birth defect that doctors are unsure whether it’s genetic or not. Thus, I’m pretty hesitant to have my own kiddos with my own genes, which is shame because ridiculously awesome hair runs in my family. I’ll be doing further testing in the future, but for now, this is what I know. So, at the age of 17, I realized that I probably wouldn’t have my own kids and at the age of 19, after 5 major surgeries, my doctors advised me that carrying a child with the amount of trauma and scarring from surgery probably wasn’t the best idea.

I remember in a moment of upset at the thought that something so many women look forward to was no longer an option for me, the world around me got quiet and I thought to myself, “Wait, this doesn’t matter… I have loved and cared for these two wonderful girls as if they were my own for years… It doesn’t matter if they come from me or not.” What matters is that they are loved by me. It matters that they get the love they deserve and that’s something I have to give.

So as I near 32 years old, I’m thinking about my 3, 5 and 10 year plan. Kids are in these plans of mine. I just thought adoption was it. That is, until 3.5 years ago when I awkwardly came out after a year long crush (that I didn’t realize was a crush — just close friends, right? Wrong.), and made out with this girl at my best friends 27th birthday party. Interestingly, what I’ve wanted to be a part of was the process of being pregnant, so I’m interested in learning how it works, what has to happen and fortunately I’m with someone now to wants so absolutely to have and to carry children.

So while I still don’t know how it will go… will we use my genes, will we use hers, will we turkey baster it (sorry Mom), or will we choose in vitro?

I do know that I will love my kids because no matter what, they ARE my own. In coming out, I have been given the greatest gifts that I never knew possible. The gratifying experience of pregnancy, love like I never knew before and like I always dreamed of, a life I love so much that I want only to get better and better and more amazing. I also know my kids will have a faux hawk at some point in their lives… Even if it’s when they’re too little to have a say.

I will always wonder if my kids will bond to me like they do their biological Mom and I wonder how far our rights will have gone with not only the state, because although Oregon state laws support gay marriage, healthcare and educational systems have yet to catch up.

Here’s to planning for a life I never knew I’d have to begin with, let alone past 16 years old, a love that I absolutely cherish and get butterflies over everyday, and a career built on helping people share their gifts with the world… and in so doing, I get to share mine.

Here’s to showing up, to what’s next, the unexpected, the downright awesome, the scary and the most incredible.

Keep going, brave one, the world needs what you have to give,
Lacy

PS – You know who you are, thank you. I love you.

Love always wins. Every. Single. Time.

I knew Monday was big, but I hadn’t realized the magnitude of it until noon yesterday, when Maggie read, “Oregon judge lifts ban on same-sex marriages, stating it’s unconstitutional.”  All I could do was look at Maggie as the emotions hit me. Tears welled up and poured over and down my face as we reached for each other. We stood for a few minutes just quietly holding each other. I focused on what it felt like to feel her breath, how perfectly our bodies fit together, and I was attempting to feel and process the somewhat unexpected emotions.

I hadn’t anticipated it, but really how could I not cry? Part of me cried with gratitude for the people who spent years more than I, fighting for this day, and for those who fought hard but who are already gone… I cried for those who never showed their true selves, who lived in quiet silence out of fear for their safety, their lives, family and livelihood. All real fears not many years ago and still huge fears in other countries and certain places in America.

Most of all, I cried because I sat there looking at Maggie, the absolute love of my life, and I thought what a lonely place it would be without her right by my side. Even this morning on our walk, I managed to get a bit ahead of her to open the door for us and she said, “I like the backs of your shoes. I didn’t realize how well designed they are.” I smiled and said, “You don’t normally see the backs of my shoes because you’re always right beside me.” Such a simple and yet symbolic moment. I have never had this before. I found my person. Now that I have, I never want to let her go!

I sat back down, taking it all in and sweet Maggie leaned over me, put her hands on my heart, and said, “We’re real. Our love is real.” It was the sweetest thing to say. It both broke my heart and made me smile. Our love is real. It always has been since I met her. This ruling doesn’t make our love anymore legit or real than anyone else, but it does make navigating this life a bit more fair legally speaking and I can only hope that it perpetuates ongoing love and understanding and that more people feel safe to be themselves and to love who they love. Life is hard enough and being anyone other than myself was impossible for me, but it didn’t make it easy.

I’ve always wanted to get married. I wasn’t the little girl with my wedding all planned out, but I definitely wanted it. I also wanted to be the one wearing the sweet wingtip shoes and a snazzy tailored suit… and no, I didn’t know I was gay back then, I was just jealous that the guys got the cooler outfit… (UKnowUrGayIf reason #837, right?) I never dated anyone for longer than a few dates unless I could actually see myself being with them for the long haul. Why waste anyone’s time?  I didn’t need someone to keep me company. I was an only child. I grew up keeping myself happily entertained just fine. I only had plans to dedicate and spend life with “the one.”

Maggie and I have talked about our future, love, life, family, kids, careers and marriage for over a year now. Before we ever got together, she asked jokingly via text complete with silly emoji icons, “If we don’t find someone by the time we’re 40 lets make a pact to get married.” All I could think was, “I want you now. I don’t want to wait 10 years to have you.” It felt like a movie. When we got together, we talked about marriage in a more metaphorical sense and in recent months, more seriously and directly related to and applicable to us in our relationship. I’ve saved songs, favorite quotes, Maggie’s ring size (I learned that one about 4 months in and it’s been in my phone ever since just waiting for the day), ring styles, photos, I’ve pondered the perfect vows, venue ideas and more for months. I wanted to be ready when we were ready. This is it, this is life, you know?

But there was always one thing missing… When I came out, I felt sad and angry that marriage wouldn’t be something I had. In effort to feel better, to feel more accepted as a person of value and deserving of love, and to keep me committed to showing up in my life and not hiding behind fear or retreating to the “safe” life, I convinced myself that it wasn’t something I needed… Validation by the government? I didn’t need that… But the truth is, it’s not about that. I was terrified of being gay because I wanted always to provide. I want my kids to have parents just like everyone else. If god forbid something terrible were to happen, I want to be there for Maggie and I’d hope the same for me. What about the joyous experience of childbirth? I wanted to be seen as family, as a wife, with rights to be with my wife. I want to see and hold my children when they are born… But until now, I would’ve waited in the waiting room. Shut out and not seen as someone valid in her life. I want to buy a house with Maggie, share in responsibilities, I want to pay taxes, travel and appreciate where we live.

If you wonder “THAT is what your looking forward to?” Then yes, it should seem a bit “normal” maybe even  slightly “predictable” … It’s a basic human right.

So all of this talk and time in the last year that we spent talking about marriage, I always felt like I was talking about someone else’s life… Like I couldn’t quite get my hopes up, I couldn’t move forward, because that wasn’t something I actually had a right to — legally. I wanted to get married in Oregon where I wanted, not in a state that’s not my own simply because I was accepted there. I didn’t want a “celebration” and a courthouse marriage. I want a WEDDING. So Monday helped to make my dreams of having a family, a wedding I’ve hoped for and a marriage founded on truth, not discrimination, a reality for me.

Dr. Ralph Nicols, legend in the field of listening, said it best: “The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood…” I’ll add that one of the greatest human needs is to love and be loved… It’s hard enough to find someone in this life, why would we ever stifle someone from love? … Love does nothing but good. It does incredible things. It perpetuates happiness, productivity, compassion, care and kindness. It fuels creativity, connection, passion and increases our lifespan.

How could we ever deprive someone of that?

Monday afternoon my Mom called to “talk to an authority” … Literally, that’s what she said to me. I knew when the phone rang that we would probably talk about this, if she had in any way been watching the news (or Facebook). She had, and it made me smile. I felt acknowledged in some way that yes, something important, something that matters to my life and my future is happening, something incredible that we’ve worked years for… She went on to ask “Since you’re an authority in this area, I’m calling to ask you. With this same sex marriage thing happening all over the TV… It has taken over every news channel this morning, I’m just wondering why is this such a big deal here in Oregon? Everyone is talking about it. Is Oregon the first state to lift the ban on gay marriage?”

I shared with her that Oregon is actually the 18th state in the United States to lift the ban on same sex marriage. She seemed confused and went on to ask, “Well does that mean gay people get everything that everyone else does now?”

“Well, that’s the goal, it’s a bit different in all states, but the goal is  equality… A point where we can pick our kids up from school because we’re recognized as their parent, we can visit and care for our sick spouses because finally we’re seen as “family” and therefore allowed in and yes, a place where we’re financially responsible for each other as a family unit among so many others things,” I explained.

I went on to share my observation that the reason it has taken so long is that for quite some time, between the strengths of religious beliefs, fear of the unknown, and the misinformation that same-sex marriages would receive some type of special treatment, meant that we just didn’t understand. It took a while, it took brave people sharing and living boldly and outwardly to show others it’s safe, it’s okay, and it doesn’t taint the principle of marriage by making it equal and that yes, love indeed IS love. My love doesn’t make your love any more or less valid. It took countless acts of heroism and stories of pain and struggle simply because for such a long time, we, as a community, lived in fearful misunderstanding. As we learn more, we better understand, and as we better understand, we make better decisions, and as we make better decisions, we change the world.

Monday was of those days.

Just before ending the call with my Mom, The Ellen Show (my Mom’s favorite show second to Oprah), ended and the news came on immediately. My Mom, who had been following this story since 7:30am Monday morning, began dictating what she was seeing as images flashed across the TV screen, “Oh here they all are at the courthouse. They’re all getting married. Oh! And the boys are kissing the boys… and oh wow, the girls are kissing the girls and they’re all hugging. Oh, and look their marriage certificate… yep! It looks just like mine.”

We talked a bit longer about it and every once in a while she would spontaneously interject, “Oh, and look at all the flowers. Everyone’s hugging everyone and they all have have bouquet.” 

I share this not to poke fun, my Mom is freakin’ adorable. She grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and you can bet this wasn’t a part of her life then… In the 50’s they were just getting black and white television, listened to the radio for information and news, and nobody was outwardly gay. I share my Mom’s very candid stream of thought to point out that on this day we are changing paradigms, people are learning, my Mom is reaching out and calling ASKING to understand, still a bit scared of what and how to ask, but I know my Mom isn’t the only one asking, talking about it, understanding more and feeding the love in the world.

Monday was a big day for so many. I’m proud of all of the the conversations and actions that inspired the change and excited by all the new dialogue that it’s provoking. It helps to further connection, equality and ultimately a world where we continue to seek to understand instead of judge each other.

It feels better to believe that not to, better to hope than to fear, and better to love than to hate.

Thank you for spending your life on me

The other night while lying in bed, I cuddled up to Maggie and said, “Thank you for spending your life on me.” It’s really true, you know. Time is our greatest and most precious resource. It’s so easy to go forgetting that. I can’t help but think about how incredible it is as humans to find someone who chooses to spend their life currency on someone else for the sake of happiness, love, and belonging. In moments like that I wonder how we could ever treat someone who has chosen us as less than anything but wonderful, even on our worst day. 

I think to myself, “what if everyone could feel, know and remember that this is it… this is all we’ve got with each other. Today. Right here. Right now.” In this moment, I chose to sit and write for a few moments in time that I will never again get back. I will never pass this way again. I can’t help but think, “Did I choose these minutes wisely, was I kind and life-giving, and did I leave you better having been here?”

Lately, after an intense few months with client work, I’ve been doing my best to take time to reflect on what matters, to express myself creatively, and to reconnect with why I do what I do, who I am, and what matters most in the world. Certainly not the easy questions, but the ones that are indeed worth asking — and even more worth hearing.

I can’t help but think, “How could you think bigger? Bigger? BIGGER?” I don’t believe we do it to ourselves on purpose, but I do believe that we hold ourselves to what’s safe, what we know, and we forget that to lead the way, to live the lives we’ve always wanted, we get to create that. I’ve been awakened to the power of creativity lately — learning so much about artists and creatives who spend hours, days, weeks, months, years and lifetimes on their souls work… In that I remember that the purpose of my life is to share how I see the world, to help others come to life in their own hopes and dreams and to play — always play. When my work or my life loses any of those elements I feel it.

I suppose I should be saying the same thing to myself, “Thank you for spending life on me… “ I’ve worked hard to get here. We all have worked hard to get where we are… A little gratitude and acknowledgement in a fast paced “whats next” world goes a long way. It’s so important to take the time to be present with yourself, thank yourself for all you’ve given and allowed in and to honor the journey along the way. It’s about the journey — make it rewarding and don’t forget to slow your pace, take it in and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to create.

I told my Dad I’m gay over lunch at Sheri’s Restaurant

The day I told my Dad I’m gay, I dressed up in my “least gay outfit,” as I called it that morning – nice jeans, cowgirl boots, sweater, blazer, curled hair, fresh makeup, perfume and jewelry… Not sweatpants, basketball shorts and a sweatshirt with a North Face jacket and basketball shoes like I spent most of my youth.

That afternoon I drove to my Dad’s work and treated him to lunch. “Anywhere you want” I told him as we hopped in the car. Being the frugal and practical man he is, he picked Sheri’s. The waitress seated us in the back of the restaurant (it’s like she knew or something!). I sat down across the booth from him in his one of 10 flannel “man” shirts (this one was forest green), then promptly broke into tears.

My Dad was the first person in my family that I was about to come out to. The first person I was letting into my REAL life. The ONLY person I really cared that he would approve of me and still love me. The one person who I knew that if he was okay with me, I would be okay with me, too. I counted on him for everything that day. Growing up he said he always would, but would he if he knew THIS? And… while he watched iceskating with my Mom and I during the Olympics and cries during sappy movies, he was the single person whom I had no idea how he felt about being gay. He grew up in the 50’s and he has a way of tossing out racial and gender orientation slander without realizing what he’s saying… I was terrified.

I started the conversation with, “I wanted to bring you out to lunch today because I need to tell you something…” *queue the tears* I now realize this is perhaps the worst conversation starter because it freaks anyone out to hear that, but I wanted to keep it real and throw my fear (and tears apparently), on the table.

He’s always had a way with words in the most unlikely of places… and never, ever quite the way you expected.

I continued, “I need to tell you something and it’s kind of a big deal and I’m scared to tell you.” My heart raced, my body trembled, my face felt like a heater, and every pore in my body seemed to spew sweat on command. My Dad paused slightly and replied with the safest and most unlikely thing (he hoped), “Well as long as you’re not pregnant!… Are you?” I laughed an awkward laugh and I said, “No. Definitely not.” … “Well then tell me. You can tell me.” he comforted. And I did… I told him I was dating one of my friends, who is a woman. To which he replied, “I’ve always loved you and I will always love you no matter what. You are still you. You should never be scared to tell me something like this.”  He asked who it was and I went on to tell him about the girl I was dating, how we met, and what I liked about her. He had seen pictures of her.

He told me all about how we live in a more accepting time than he grew up in and I shared why I was so scared to tell him. He asked why I told him first and why I didn’t tell both my Mom and Dad at the same time. “I matters to me that you accept me. I felt like if you were okay, the rest of the world, just might be okay with me being gay, too.” I said. Then he said exactly what I was waiting for to know that we were going to be okay…  He took a sip of Pepsi and blurted out, “Well, at least you’re both HOT! I mean look at you! Some of them are pretty butch. But you both are great looking women. You really are.” This was the comment that stopped the tears and together we laughed. While semi-innaprorpiate (which I expected), he got it, he was okay, we were okay… we could move on. And we did our best.

That year came with more bumps than we thought in our relationship, we were challenged and forced to grow and understand and address family and our own personal feelings. At times we reached out, others, we didn’t… and there was a good few months that being around my Dad talking about anything to do with my life and being gay was extremely uncomfortable.

Father-Daughter Faux Hawk Hair!

Father-Daughter Faux Hawk Hair!

But the best part is that we made it to today… 4 years later and my Love comes over to visit, eat, watch movies, share in holidays and is invited without question. My parents watch her dog (now our dog) while we’re out of town. He jokes with her as he would anyone else, he still washes my car when I leave it there during travels, services it when it needs an oil change, and leaves Washman Carwash coupons in my glove box for me. He builds incredible furniture for me (and now for us), he fixed a clock of Maggie’s that had been broken during our time away… patiently gluing at least 10 different pieces together one by one over the course of 5 days, he hugs me like he always has and best of all… he’s my Dad… He didn’t go away. I was terrified that being gay would change us and though it did for a while, we got through it, he was always there, and today, we have a relationship full of love.

I hope that he will always know and feel and remember that every gesture, even the smallest, has meant the world to me in my life and always will coming from him. His jokes have always meant that we’re good and his meaningful acts of service have always shown me that my world is okay, that my Dad loves me and that life is good.

On my 30th birthday, he even ask me to faux hawk his hair so that it would look like mine.